Chinese Media HUMILIATES Trump In Epic Passive Aggressive Takedown Of Twitter Diplomacy
China Hopes That Trump Learns How To Do Diplomacy Soon
President-elect Donald Trump keeps tweeting about China, and China is bemused. In an article published Tuesday in Xinhua News, China’s largest official state-controlled news agency, commentator Liu Si wrote that Trump’s “indulging in ‘Twitter diplomacy’ is undesirable.” The article is dripping with sarcasm, passive aggression, and understated ridicule. It is also a study in how China is responding to the phenomenon of Trump’s imminent presidency by barely acknowledging Trump’s breaks with diplomatic tradition and refusing to normalize them.
Liu describes Trump as “the American president-elect who previously served as a television star,” and who has a “habit” of tweeting to “spread his voice.” The article describes this habit as a campaign tactic that, puzzlingly, Trump indicates he will continue using as president.
Liu argues that Trump is going to cause problems at home in Washington by attempting to pursue diplomacy on Twitter.
Mr. Trump recently released some tweets that aroused widespread concerns in political and academic circles in the United States. Not only by saying that the United Nations is a club for party fun, but also by making statements that are contrary to the foreign policy pursued by the United States for decades, including some negative remarks about China.
CNN criticized Trump’s remarks on social media, “disrupting the relationship between US allies and rivals,” and citing several “forms,” including “misinformation,” “sabotaging bilateral relations,” “Breaking diplomatic rules” and so on. The “Washington Post” even bluntly suggested – “Lose Trump’s Twitter account.”
In a recent tweet, Trump hinted that he would modify US nuclear policy. In this regard, the US diplomatic community is anxious to train him, but the new master of the White House can’t sit still, and severely criticizing him could bring “disastrous” consequences.
Beijing seems concerned that Washington’s foreign policy process might fall apart, and that the only thing that would propel a victory of Trumpian incompetence over Washington’s sober diplomatic traditions is fear of his ire among the bureaucracy. Nowhere in the article does Liu seem concerned about what Trump might do to China, despite the bluster. China apparently views Trump’s rhetoric as a rather obvious and ill-advised ploy.
According to Sean Spicer, Trump can use his voice on Twitter to “get what he wants.” This means using some hardline remarks, touching some sensitive issues, may become bargaining chips in negotiations with other countries.
However, it is recognized common sense that diplomacy is not child’s play, and not just a business negotiation. As former United States Secretary of State Albright said, Twitter should not be a tool for foreign policy.
The last paragraph could refer specifically to Trump’s pair of tweets about North Korea that he fired off Monday. Trump wrote,
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!
Then less than an hour later, added,
China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won’t help with North Korea. Nice!
Trump’s second tweet ignores the fact that in 2013, China and the US applied tougher sanctions and UN action together on North Korea in response to its rocket testing shenanigans.
The tone of the Xinhua article reflects the fact that, while the US and China may be rivals in the security sphere, they also have a vital trade relationship. It would not benefit anyone to disrupt it or pursue confrontation for its own sake. It also highlights the fact that, while China does not welcome Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, Beijing is not necessarily afraid of Trump, and may actually consider him something of a lightweight in the diplomatic realm.
Since the end of World War II, the US has relied heavily on certain diplomatic norms that have kept the peace between countries, especially great powers, and have held up America’s status as the world’s sole superpower. But we may be about to go through the looking glass, as China’s response to Trump sounds more like the Obama administration’s response to Kim Jong Un than any comparable high level exchange between an American president and a large country. As the US comes under leadership that is seemingly irrational–denying climate change, blustering about nuclear weapons, willfully ignorant of past treaties–and as Beijing slowly inches toward a world class economy and navy, China may soon find itself in the strange position of being the strongest defender of the kind of world order that the US once built and relied upon.
Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.